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Tuesday, 20 February 2024 07:18

Transporters’ Strike: FG, NARTO, Others Meeting Ends In Deadlock

The strike action embarked by members of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, has continued into the second following the failure of the Federal Government, oil marketers to reach agreement with the transporters.

A meeting conveyed by the Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri with NARTO, oil marketers and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, in Abuja ended with an agreement.

Senator Lokpobiri told journalists that the meeting will continue as the government seeks to find a solution to issues raised by the transporters.

According to the Minister, “We have been having engagement with different stakeholders in the downstream petroleum industry based on some concerns which were raised. The engagements are still continuing and we hope that we will be able to find solutions to those concerns as soon as possible. Engagement will continue tonight till tomorrow.

“But it should be pointed out very clearly that they have demonstrated utmost good faith and patriotism. It should also be known that the issues have nothing to do with the government. It is basically commercial. But as a government we have decided to intervene so that Nigerians will not suffer unduly”, he added.

NARTO had threatened to stop the lifting of petrol over high cost of operation.

NARTO National President, Alhaji Yusuf Lawal Othman explained that the tanker owners have been recording huge losses due to high cost of operation which is no longer sustainable.

He explained that members would park their trucks from Monday “because what we spend on operation is more than what we get in total: both in local and bridging”.

He said: “We will have to suspend operations between now and Monday. We cannot continue to operate at a loss. Most people have parked. A lot more are going to park.

“But from the point of view of the association itself, we are going to suspend operations on Monday.”

Othman disclosed that NARTO’s efforts at soliciting the intervention of all the key stakeholders in the Federal Government and industry have not yielded positive results.

“We have written letters up to the level of the Chief of Staff. We have written to the Honourable Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Oil).

We have written to DG SSS. We have written to the GCEO. We have written to the Authority Chief Executive. We have written to the Major Marketers, yet no response.”

He noted that the N32 Lagos to Abuja freight rate that was implemented while the dollar was N650 is still retained now that dollar is N1,615.

“Everybody is aware that all our consumables in terms of operation are not produced in the country. So, by virtue of the rate of dollars, every consumable has increased. But the freight they are paying us has been the same even during Buhari’s time.So how is that feasible?

He explained further: “What I mean by local is if you load Lagos, you discharge in Lagos. And bridging is if you load from Lagos, you come to Abuja. Lagos to Lagos, we are paid N120,000.

“AGO alone to distribute fuel within Lagos is N140,000 because it is N1,400 per litre. So, they give you N120,000 and you spend N140,000. How do you want to operate? We are not talking about cost of vehicles, cost of loading, driver’s allowance. That is for local. For bridging Lagos to Abuja, they gave us N32.

“If you have a truck of 40,000 litres, you are talking of N1,280,000-N1,216,000. Less 5% of the amount of N1,280,000 Withholding Tax N64,000. Less 55,000 loading expenses and 15,000 driver allowance. Total expenses N134,000 while balance is N1,146,000. AGO is N1400 for 900 litres, totalling N1,260,000. There is a total loss of N114,000. The diesel that you use from Lagos to Abuja is 900 litres”, he added.

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